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Market access to Germany and specific professional groups

Market access to Germany

In Germany, market access for artists or creatives from outside the EU is governed by the Aufenthaltsgesetz (English: Residence Act) and the Beschäftigungsverordnung (BeschV; English: Employment Ordinance) of 22 November 2004. Work may only be carried out if the residence title permits it. Work, in this case, includes self-employed activity and employment. The ZAV usually must approve issuance of a residence title. There are some exceptions for artists, which are set out in the Employment Ordinance and listed below.

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Specific professional groups

Issuance of a residence title for specific professional groups pursuant to § 22 BeschV

According to § 22 BeschV, the approval of the ZAV is not required in order for a residence permit (C visa with employment or D visa) to be issued to specific professional groups by the embassy/the consulate. This applies to:
 

  • Persons, including their temporary staff, who give lectures or performances of particular scientific or artistic value (as defined by BeschV Dienstanweisung zu § 22) or participate in athletic performances but maintain their regular residence abroad, if the duration of the activity does not exceed three months within a twelve month period; 

  • Persons who are employed at festivals, or musical and other cultural events or who are posted in the context of foreign film or TV productions, if the duration of the activity does not exceed three months within a twelve month period;  

  • Persons who participate in performances for up to fifteen days per year.

Example:
A Chilean circus artist is invited to give a guest performance during a five-day festival in Dresden. 

In this case, the appropriate embassy/consulate may decide on the issuance of the visa without the consent of the German authorities.  

Example:
An artist from Iraq is invited to Germany for a period of two weeks for setting up his/her exhibition pieces and participation in the subsequent opening of the exhibition. On the day following the opening, he/she gives a workshop as part of the exhibition, for which he/she receives a fee.  

As this is considered a self-employed activity, approval of the ZAV is not required. 

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Employment in culture and entertainment

§ 25 BeschV Culture and entertainment – in case of employment relationships

When granting an approval, the ZAV – which is bound to the implementing regulation relevant to the Employment Ordinance – may approve issuance of a residence title to persons who:  

  • pursue an artistic activity or are hired as supporting staff needed for a performance;   

  • are posted for work stays exceeding three months and related to guest performances or foreign film or TV productions.   

Example: 
An opera house in Germany hires a sound artist from Singapore for one season. 

Since this is an employment relationship in the area of culture and entertainment, the ZAV may give its consent. The sound artist applies for a D visa and, after approval by the German authorities, the competent embassy may issue the visa.   

Note: 

As mentioned above, nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United States are subject to an exception to the visa requirement. They may obtain the residence title necessary for employment at the competent immigration authority in Germany after entry. This authority will seek the approval of the Federal Employment Agency in accordance with the Employment Ordinance (BeschV). Applicants may start their work only after approval of the relevant residence title.

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Important links

  • German diplomatic missions (German embassies and consulates) worldwide 

  • The Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany with its visa units; moreover, there are departments for individual countries and regions, the department for international cultural exchange, and the department for international agreements (such as UNESCO) www.auswaertiges-amt.de

  • Country list of visa requirements when entering the EU or Germany www.auswaertiges-amt.de

  • Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung der Bundesagentur für Arbeit (ZAV; English: International Placement Services of the Federal Employment Agency) www.zav.de 

  • Residence titles in Germany www.bamf.de

  • Beschäftigungsverordnung BeschV (by occupation; English: Employment Ordinance)

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